Landscape Architecture & Sustainable Urban Design

Penn State University
Fall Semester Program






The program offers PSU Landscape Architecture students the opportunity to explore and study sutainable urban design and landscape architecture in the modern and progressive environment of Germany's former capital and NGO/UN hub Bonn. At the core of the semester stands a service-learning studio design project in which students engage in culturally sensitive, sustainable design of one or more sites in the city of Bonn or neighboring Cologne. Within that context, great emphasis is placed on embedding design work in the teaching and reflection of relevant local, German and European culture and (design) history, as well as German and European approaches to sustainability and environmentalism. To that extend, students also go on two extended excursions to Rome and Paris and numerous local field trips in the extended Bonn region. Guest speakers and meeting with professionals from the field further enhance the academic experience.

Providing students with an enriching cultural immersion experience is another goal of this program. To that effect, all participants live in AIB host families for the duration of the program, where they will have the opportunity to take part in the German every-day lifestyle. Several excursions and activities also familiarize students with selected aspects of German culture and history, as does the German Language & Culture class that is part of the curriculum.
The program concludes with a public presentation of the students' designs in front of an expert jury, paired with an exhibition of their work at the AIB facilities.


LArch 499A: Design & Theory Seminar (1 credit)
LArch 499B: Design & Theory VI (5 credits)
LArch 499D: International Special Topics (3 credits)
German Language & Culture (3 credits)


The Program takes place in Bonn at the Akademie für Internationale Bildung (AIB). With its approx. 325.000 inhabitants, the more than 2000 years-old city of Bonn is located on both banks the Rhine river, just south of such well-know German cities as Düsseldorf and Cologne. Having been the seat of the German government from 1949-1999, the city has since then gained a new profile as a European center for international non-profit organizations, predominantly from the field of sustainability, and Germany's seat of the United Nations.
Being the birthplace of composer Ludwig van Beethoven, Bonn also prides itself in its strong cultural profile. Many large scale events, such as the annual Beethoven Festival, are paired with the presence of Germany's premier museum for modern german history, several prominent art museums, an opera house, theaters and a lively cultural scene surrounding Bonn University and its 30.000 students.
The city and its surroundings are rich in castles, medieval towns and natural beauty. Students can play soccer in one of Bonn’s several parks, explore the gardens of Poppelsdorfer Castle or walk, run or bike along the Rhine river promenade.
Bonn is centrally located in Western Europe allowing easy train travel to cities such as Paris and Amsterdam. The Bonn-Cologne airport is served by many low-cost airlines allowing students access to cities such as Venice, Budapest, London, Rome, Prague and Barcelona, among others.
Read more about Bonn!


Course-related activities include:

  • Monschau, Eifel
  • Eifel National Park
  • Dyck Palace & Gardens
  • Landschaftspark Nord
  • Remagen Bike Tour
  • Cologne
  • Frankfurt Day Tour
  • Metabolon Project
  • Post Tower, Bonn

International Study Tours:
  • Barcelona (5 days)
  • Paris (5 days)


In order to maximize their immersion experience, students stay in AIB host families where they are provided with two meals/day.

Please click here to find out about AIB's housing options


Students are eligible to apply for this program if they meet the following criteria:

  • degree-seeking student
  • good judicial standing
  • 2.5. GPA at time of application


Funding is available in many forms. For information on fees & funding opportunities, please contact your study abroad office or the AIB program coordinator.


For any other program-related questions please feel free to contact your AIB program coordinator:

VCard Ture Petersenn Program Director, M.A.

Main Line Main Line: +49 (0) 228 - 33 88 39 - 10
Direct Line Direct Line: +49 (0) 228 - 33 88 39 - 12
Fax Fax: +49 (0) 228 - 242 02 37




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